Jan. 17, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -
Sophomores Joe See and Cameron Goettsche scored 15 points apiece to lead a balanced attack and UC Santa Barbara's defense limited the Big West's leading scorer Varnie Dennis to ten points as the Gauchos recorded a lopsided 78-59 win at Cal Poly on Saturday night.
Goettsche set the tone for UCSB when he hit a 15-foot baseline jumper to open the scoring. He was fouled by Dennis on the play and made the free throw to give the Gauchos a 3-0 lead. The Mustangs tied the score on a three-pointer by Shane Schilling and the teams traded baskets for the next four minutes. When Schilling hit a short jumper with 15:02 remaining in the first half, the game was once again tied, 11-11.
That was the last time the game was tied. Sophomore guard Cecil Brown completed a 7-0 UCSB run with a 17-foot jumper from the left side giving the Gauchos an 18-11 lead with 11:27 to go in the half. The Mustangs never got closer than four the rest of the half and they needed a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Tyler McGinn to cut the halftime deficit to ten, 37-27.
In the second half, UCSB jumped out of the gates quickly again. Senior Nick Jones nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to ignite a 9-0 run. Senior Jacoby Atako also drained a three-pointer and a free throw and Jones added a pair of free throws to give the Gauchos a 46-27 lead. After Schilling hit a short leaner to get Cal Poly back to within 17, Jones hit another three-pointer, this one from deep in the corner, to make it 49-29 UCSB with 17:16 to go in the game.
The lead bounced between 15 and 20 for the next six minutes. At the 11:15 mark, with the Gauchos leading by 15, Schilling was fouled on a three-point attempt. He made all three free throw attempts, pulling the Mustangs to within 12, 59-47. UCSB responded again, however, going on a 12-3 run to extend the lead to 71-50 with 6:08 remaining. The lead never got below 18 after that.
Schilling, who ended with a game-high 26 points, and Dennis, the Big West's leading scorer, each committed three first half fouls and had to spend large amounts of time on the bench. Dennis entered the game averaging 19.7 points per game, but he was scoreless in the first half and did not score his first basket until six minutes had elapsed in the second half. He finished with ten points.
UCSB, playing without starting forward and leading rebounder Casey Cook who was nursing a partially torn muscle in his right quadricep, still dominated the boards, outrebounding the Mustangs 47-25. Senior Bray Skultety had a season-high nine rebounds to go with seven points before fouling out in 13 minutes. Senior Byan Whitehead had seven rebounds, Goettsche added six and See had a career-high five to go with his season-high 15 points.
"I thought we did a very good job defensively, on the boards and responding whenever they (Cal Poly) challenged us," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We had contributions from so many players and we had some guys really step-up. Cameron (Goettsche), Joe See, Nick (Jones), Cecil (Brown). You just go right down the list. Playing without Casey (Cook) somebody had to have a big game and we had several."
In addition to Goettsche and See, the Gauchos had two other players in double-figures. Jones finished with a season-high 13, making 3-of-4 shots from beyond the three-point arc. Brown had 11, all in the first half, before twisting his left ankle and leaving the game for good in the second half. As a team, UCSB shot 50.0% overall and 69.2% (9-of-13) from three-point territory. UCSB, in fact, made all four of its three-point attempts in the second half. Senior Branduinn Fullove, plagued with foul trouble, attempted just two shots, scoring three points. He did have a game-high and season-high six assists. Also, not only did the Gauchos outrebound Cal Poly, but they limited their opponent to just 37.0% shooting from the floor.
The win was UCSB's second in a row. The Gauchos improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in Big West play. Cal Poly drops to 6-7 overall and 1-4 in the Big West.
Santa Barbara returns to action on Thursday night when it hosts Cal State Northridge in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.